Simon Hunt and Rachael Burford
Tue, 16 May 2023 at 12:50 pm BST
Late-night sausage roll fans may soon breathe a sigh of relief after Greggs said it had reached a deal with Westminster City Council over the range of products it can sell in the early hours of the morning in central London, the Standard can reveal.
The bakery firm was set to begin a three-day court hearing as soon as today after Westminster refused permission for hot food and drinks to be sold after 11pm at its Leicester Square branch, but boss Roisin Currie said the hearing had been called off.
She told the Standard: “We’ve now got an agreement with Westminster — we’ve reached a compromise.
“We can still sell all of our sandwiches, all of our sweet products [late at night] but we’ve been working with the council on what we can sell later in the evening. It’s very positive and we’ve worked well together.”
Greggs said it would lay out full details of its deal with Westminster in due course. Westminster City Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Metropolitan Police, Environmental Health, three local Westminster councillors and one resident had complained about the bakery’s plans to sell hot food and drink into the early hours of the morning on weekends.
“It is our belief that if granted, the application could undermine the licensing objectives in relation to the prevention of crime and disorder,” the Met said.
Greggs said customers could become “confused” if its full menu was not available to them all evening and would be more likely to cause trouble.
It offered to employ security guards wearing body cameras at the Leicester Square location to ensure safety, but the request was still refused.
Westminster Council previously said the licensing committee “refused to grant the application on policy grounds” because Greggs had “failed to demonstrate exceptional reasons as to why the application would not have a negative impact on the West End”.
It added: “Greggs would need to try to convince the court that their evidence provides exceptional reasons for allowing the Premises to operate until 5am, despite being located in a cumulative impact zone.”
It comes as Greggs posted sales growth of 17.1% in the first 19 weeks of 2023, as evermore price-sensitive customers flocked to its stores for a cheap bite to eat.
It also ramped up its range of meat-free offerings including the new Vegan Mexican Chicken-Free Bake.
The Newcastle-based business is eyeing expansion across UK airports with new stores opening in Glasgow, Cardiff and Gatwick. Bankers in search of a bake can also visit its new store in Canary Wharf and soon-to-be-opened Moorgate branch.